Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Scott H. Yamamoto and Charlotte Y. Alverson (2015). Factors of Successful Self-Employment Through Vocational Rehabilitation for Individuals With Disabilities. Journal of Career Assessment, 23 (2), 318-335.
Title:  Factors of Successful Self-Employment Through Vocational Rehabilitation for Individuals With Disabilities
Authors:  Scott H. Yamamoto and Charlotte Y. Alverson
Year:  2015
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Career Assessment
Publisher:  Sage Publications
Full text: 
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Purpose:  The study examines three factors related to self-employment of individuals with disabilities. These factors include individual characteristics that support or define self-employment. The characteristics included demographic variables such as gender, race, ethnicity and personal traits. In addition, the study examined how accountability systems affect these outcomes including organizational or agency policies, laws and regulations, and market conditions. Finally, the study observed levels of support for these individuals including services offered, loans, and other economic supports as well as medical health insurance. In essence, the research questions concerned the relationship between accountability systems, individual characteristics, and levels of support that determine successful self-employment.
Study sample:  RSA-911 data set for the years 2003-2007
Data collection and analysis:  Using the RSA-911 data set from all 50 states including D.C. Years studies were 2003-2007. These years were chosen to eliminate the recession periods both before and after the study years and include a stable set of data. All variables were defined by the RSA data set. Data was analyzed in a two-step process. First information was examined for distributional statistical assumptions and the data were analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM) to answer the questions.
Findings:  The analysis yielded uneven results and resulted in a number of inadmissible solutions. For the research question on the relationship between accountability systems and self-employment, the model had to be respecified to achieve acceptable results. For this question, FY 2005 yielded the best results; however, more study of the data is needed. Similarly, the question “Does the relationship of accountability systems, individual characteristics, and levels of support to self-employment success differ over time?” revealed that a difference over time is suggested and FY 2006 and 2007 suggested a misspecification of the variable type. Finally, for the question on “Does the relationship of accountability systems, individual characteristics, and levels of support differ by location?” the MIMIC model fit nationally but not regionally. It is possible that differences in sample size between regions and states resulted in a model misfit for this question. The study was limited by a variety of information in the data set and the variances in the data between regions and states. Ultimately, variances in the data between each of the research questions requires a closer look at the data. Finally, one clear indicator in the results was that self-employment of individuals with disabilities varied dramatically by region and state. Further, outcomes for VR clients verses those outside of the VR system were significantly different. Self-employment for individuals outside of the VR system was much higher than those within that system. Further, self-employment was highly correlated with ethnicity and gender.
Conclusions:  This particular set of research questions needs more research and an examination of research literature on the role disability plays in employment success is warranted. In particular, looking at career education and the choices these individuals make when deciding on employment options. In addition, looking at different relationships among and between these variables might lead to different research questions from the ones asked in this study. Finally, looking at the relationship between the three research questions and VR case closure in the context of more recent policy and fiscal changes is a necessary next step in the research. Since VR self-employment case closure has remained static while overall self-employment for disabled individuals has improved, we need to understand what is happening outside of the VR system. The researchers ask if some aspects of self-employment outside the VR system could be adopted by institutions and agencies. The data indicates a relationship between accountability systems and levels of support. Data revealed that some states have a higher VR case closure rate than others. A close examination of these differences can aid policy makers in maximizing limited VR resources. The RSA data is amenable to a more complex statistical analysis. Too, with significant differences between VR agencies, VR counselors could use the information provided to tailor support on an individualized basis.

Disabilities served:  Multiple disabilities
Populations served:  Persons with multiple disabilities (e.g., deaf-blindness, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse)
Interventions:  Vocational rehabilitation
Outcomes:  Self-employment